As a college librarian, I often hear stressed-out students searching for primary sources say, "I'll take anything." Don't settle for just anything. There is a treasury of primary source material available electronically. Peruse my selection of 200-plus primary source sites by conducting a keyword search, exploring the tag cloud at left, or browsing by historical era. You can also visit my Delicious and Diigo sites to review my bookmarks. Here's hoping you find what you're looking for.

Monday, February 28, 2011

RIP Frank Buckles

Today's New York Times features the obituary for 110-year-old Frank Woodruff Buckles, the last surviving World War I Infantryman. A Missouri native, Buckles lied to a military recruiter about his age and enlisted in the Army in 1914. He was sent to France, where he guarded German soldiers during the occupation. The Library of Congress's Veterans History Project , features oral history interviews conducted with Frank. Those interviews are provided in both audio and video format and transcriptions are also available. Additionally, you'll find some photographs of the veteran, as well as biographical information. The picture at left comes from the Library of Congress and shows Frank as a young enlistee. The picture at right comes from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

Monday, February 14, 2011

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

On this day in 1929, the gang war between Al “Scarface” Capone and George Bugs” Moran culminated in the St. Valentine’s Massacre. Seven of Moran’s men were lined up against a garage wall and gunned down by hit men dressed as police officers. Although Capone’s gang was blamed for the slaughter, Capone himself was in Florida at the time of the slayings. You can read the New York Times account of that crime via Digital History.

That site, a collaborative effort between the University of Houston, the Chicago Historical Society, The national Park service and a host of other agencies, serves as gateway for students searching for primary source materials. Landmark documents, court testimony, material from historical newspapers and transcripts from oral history interviews are some to the items you’ll find on this site.

For more information on Al Capone, check out the FBI’s website. There you’ll find 107 pages of investigative files related to the St. Valentine’s Day assacre. You’ll also be able to see Capone’s mug shot from Alcatraz (pictured at left), his fingerprint card and criminal record. At right is a photo of bystanders gathered around the garage where Moran's men were gunned down. That image comes from The Chicago Daily News and is available from the Library of Congress's American Memory Project.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Remembering Columbia and her crew

On this day in 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon its re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere. All seven astronauts on board perished in the tragedy, which was caused when a piece of foam insulation broke loose during takeoff, damaging the thermal protective material designed to protect the shuttle from the heat of re-entry.
NASA has a host of materials available pertaining to this disaster. A page devoted to Space Shuttle Columbia and her crew provides access to the report conducted by The Columbia Accident Investigation Board in the wake of the disaster. Additionally, you’ll find biographical information about the crew members and links to stories of memorials offered in recognition of individual crew members.  The photo on the bottom pictures the Columbia’s crew. The photo at top shows the main engine of Columbia, which was recovered in Louisiana. Both come from NASA.